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Vast, 40-mile-long Russian army convoy advances toward Kyiv

At least 70 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in Okhtyrka in northeast Ukraine.

According to the BBC, the troops were killed in Russian shelling of their military base on Sunday.

Ukraine’s parliament confirms the deaths, tweeting: “Eternal memory and glory to the heroes of Ukraine.”

Okhtyrka has seen heavy fighting — Amnesty International says cluster bombs hit a preschool on Friday in the city. Three people were killed, including a child.

China begins evacuating citizens from Ukraine

China starts evacuating its citizens from Ukraine, state media reports, amid fears for their safety due to the invasion by Beijing’s ally Russia but also reports of resulting hostility from angry Ukrainians.

Some 600 Chinese students were evacuated Monday from Kyiv and the southern port city of Odessa, the state-run Global Times newspaper reports, citing the Chinese embassy in the Ukrainian capital.

They travelled by bus to neighboring Moldova under an embassy escort and local police protection, according to the report, which cited an evacuee as saying the six-hour journey was “safe and smooth.”

A further 1,000 Chinese nationals will leave Ukraine on Tuesday bound for Poland and Slovakia, both European Union member states, the report adds.

China has trod a cautious diplomatic tightrope on the conflict, balancing its oft-repeated insistence on the sanctity of state sovereignty with an unwillingness to call out its close ally Russia.

While countries including the US, UK and Japan evacuated diplomats and urged citizens to leave in the weeks before the invasion, China waited until Thursday before announcing it would organize charter flights to evacuate its nationals.

Airlift of Israeli humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees arrives in Poland

A shipment of humanitarian aid from Israel for refugees escaping Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, lands in Poland.

Army Radio reports that two further airlifts are set to leave Ben Gurion airport later today.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that Israeli aid includes coats, blankets, sleeping bags, medical equipment, tents and water purification equipment.

US lawmakers told Russian forces will likely overrun Ukraine’s defenses

US officials warn Congress members that a second wave of Russian invasion forces will likely overrun Ukrainian defenses, CNN reports.

The officials warn the lawmakers in classified briefings, the network says, citing two people familiar with the briefings.

They say Russia will probably besiege Kyiv and engage in brutal urban combat, one source said.

Massive military column threatens Ukraine’s capital

A huge Russian military convoy stretching some 40 miles is just north of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, which has already repulsed several assaults.

The column has been massing since Sunday.

The Maxar satellite imagery company says the column covers the entire stretch of road from near Antonov airport, some 18 miles from the capital, to the town of Prybirsk, a distance of approximately 40 miles.

Maxar says that “along parts of the route, some vehicles are spaced fairly far apart while in other sections military equipment and units are traveling two or three vehicles abreast on the road.”

“A number of homes and buildings are seen burning north and northwest of Ivankiv, near the roads where the convoy is traveling,” Maxar says.

Maxar says its satellites have also captured images of “additional ground forces deployments and ground attack helicopter units” in southern Belarus, less than 20 miles north of the border with Ukraine.

Since the start of the Russian offensive on Thursday, Ukrainian forces have defended the roads leading into central Kyiv against assaults by Russian forces that are massing around the capital.

According to two sources interviewed by AFP on Monday, one diplomatic and the other a security official, Moscow is preparing to launch a new military push imminently.

The Ukrainian Army General Staff official page on Facebook says that Russian forces were massing over the past 24 hours and accumulating armored vehicles and artillery weapons “primarily to encircle and take control of Kyiv and other major cities of Ukraine.”

Washington says the main Russian effort remains an advance on Kyiv but that had “slowed down” on the fifth day of the invasion.

On Monday, the main Russian column advancing toward the Ukrainian capital had advanced about three miles and was some 18 miles from the city, a senior US defense official said.

Source: TOI